For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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Splurge or Save: Spring Scarves

Although the calendar says “spring”, the weather in Maine is still screaming “winter”.  It snowed last night. And not just a dusting. We got a few inches. Yes, inches. Did I miss the memo that spring has been canceled this year? I’m losing hope! Holdin’ on by a string! Warm weather better come soon or I might just lose it!

So with spring in my mind and winter still sitting in front of me, I decided to write about scarves. I think scarves are a great transition piece from winter to spring (or in my case from spring back to winter). As the weather gets warmer you no longer need thick, bulky scarves to keep in body heat for survival and instead you can focus on wearing light, airy scarves as accessories. So for today’s Splurge or Save, I’ve picked out two purpley scarves that are great pieces for transitioning into warmer weather. There is just something about purple that always reminds me of spring. Maybe it’s the thought blooming flowers or maybe it’s the purple Easter candy I just ate…

Anyway, in the last Splurge or Save, I wrote about two companies that are doing great things in two completely different ways. Today I chose two companies that have a similar mission. Both companies aim to empower artisans and entrepreneurs in developing countries.

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The first scarf is from Kate Spade’s On Purpose collection. I wrote a post about the collection when it first came out. I was super excited when Kate Spade came out with a socially conscious line. I love that her products all have a little pizzazz and this scarf is no different. The small details are really what make this scarf unique. I think the faint purple mixes well with the playful pom poms.

All the pieces in this collection are hand made by women artisans in Rwanda. The employees are paid monthly salaries that are 40% above international guidelines for fair living wages. And unlike many other jobs available to them, the women are offered: paid vacation days, health benefits, maternity leave, and social security. The On Purpose collection is constantly adding new products, but most of them are a bit pricey. This scarf comes in at $158.

Marquet Free Weave Scarf

The second option is a more affordable scarf from Marquet, which is another company I have written about. Their goal is to empower entrepreneurs in developing countries and help them reach a global audience. Marquet imports scarves from artisans in Thailand and Vietnam. The company takes the time to build personal relationships with all of their artisans and follows all the guidelines set out by the Fair Trade Federation. The scarves come in all the colors of the rainbow, but this two toned purple scarf is definitely a great color for spring. The mixture of purples is subtle, but it makes the scarf unique. And the best part is this scarf will only set you back $22.

So which scarf do you chose? Will you splurge or save?


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Splurge or Save: Shades

Welcome to my new installment: Splurge or Save. In these posts I will show you two conscious products in different price ranges. Sometimes it’s nice to splurge on a quality, high end product, but other times, like when you’re low on cash or trying out a new trend, it’s definitely nice to save.

So since the days are getting longer and spring is right around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to write about sunglasses. I am so happy that the sun is out when I drive home from work, but it’s kind of a new hazard I have to work around. I find myself constantly reaching for my sunglasses in order to avoid being blinded. Bet hey, I’d rather that than the depressing winter darkness!

 Stella Oversized Square

Today’s splurge is sunglasses from Stella McCartney. These sunglasses come from Sella’s sustainable eyewear collection. All of the shades from this collection are made from at least 50% natural and renewable resources. The frame of these glasses is made out of bio acetate plastic, which is made from wood pulp and cotton linters and is biodegradable. They will set you back a couple hundred bucks, but if you love em’, you can get them here.

Warby Parker Piper

The next pair is from the Warby Parker. There are a few cool things about this company. The first is, for every pair of glasses you buy, they donate a pair to someone in need. So far they’ve donated over a million pairs! The other cool thing is that they will send you up to five pairs (free of charge) to try on before making your purchase. These sunglasses still aren’t extremely cheap ($95), but the quality is definitely worth it. So if you’re trying to save today, check out these shades here.


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What To Do When Spring Hasn’t Quite Sprung

We’re still buried in snow up here in the Northeast and apparently there is more snow on the way. You could say I am less than pleased. And even though the days are definitely getting warmer (hallelujah!), it’s still well below freezing when I leave for work in the morning. Nothing is worse than starting your day with freezing fingers from a freezing steering wheel. Luckily I came across Jack and Mary Designs to get me through the last few weeks of cold weather.

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At least a foot of snow still lingers in Maine. It’s hard to believe it is all going to melt soon (at least I hope!).

Jack and Mary Designs sells winter accessories that are handmade out of recycled sweaters. Since each item is made with a different combination of sweaters and buttons, they are all unique, one of a kind pieces. All the accessories are made in Maine and believe me, we Mainers know cold weather so you can imagine we know how to make wicked good hats and mittens.

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Functional and stylish? Yes please!

Although Jack and Mary is all about winter accessories these days, that wasn’t always the case. The designer and founder, Marilyn Robertson, started out as an interior designer. She focused on finding ways work with and reinvent what people already had, rather than buying all new products. The same philosophy gave her the idea to start making handbags out of old sweaters. She then used the sleeves of the sweaters to make mittens and the rest is history.

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“Winter can be such a somber season,” Robertson says. “So I keep the line, colorful, happy…The pieces are functional with a zippy pop of color that always makes people smile.” I know I smiled when I got my pair of mittens.

As you can see, upcycling has always played a huge roll at Jack and Mary Designs. The fact that they use recycled materials and create new value for materials that may have gone to waste has a positive impact on the environment because it helps to eliminate waste.  Upcycling is also said to create 84% less CO2 than other mass-produced items.

Want to learn more about upcycling? Head over to the Jack and Mary Designs Facebook page for tons of inspiration. Every Tuesday they post about ways to upcycle and help you find new uses for old treasures. Turning an old scarf into a camera strap and using an old muffin tin as a jewelry organizer are two of my favorite tips. And there are so many more!IMG_1512

You can check out all of their products on their website. And by some chance if you don’t see anything you like, Jack and Mary Designs can also make custom orders using your old sweaters.  Custom orders are the perfect way to upcycle the old sweaters you don’t wear anymore, but still have sentimental value. You can call (207-337-0521) or send an email (hello@jackandmarydesigns.com) to set up custom orders. Jack and Mary also make fingerless gloves and headbands, which are great for transitioning into spring… which hopefully isn’t too far away!


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Monday Motivation

Because Mondays are hard and sometimes we need a little inspiration…

WeatherBecause of constant snow in the northeast, I can’t keep my mind off the weather. I find I am constantly talking about road conditions, refreshing weather apps, checking the news, and cleaning my car off. I can’t say I’m enjoying any of it. But my inner optimist is forcing me to reflect on this quote. Although I feel there is a fine line between exhilarating and terrifying, I am going to try to stay positive. The best thing about snow and tough times is they don’t last forever. Unless you live in Antarctica. In which case, I wish you the best.


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I Don’t Like Fall..

There I said it! And I’m starting to think I am the only person on the face of this planet who isn’t ecstatic for fall. What’s the big deal? The days get shorter and colder and more depressing. And worst of all, it means winter is coming…

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I dislike winter more than fall, but sometimes the anticipation to winter is worse than it actually is… if that makes any sense. And maybe if I lived somewhere (almost anywhere) other than Maine, I would appreciate a break from the long, hot, sticky days, but it literally just started getting warm up here and then oh just kidding it’s cold again. Now I’m all worked up *deep breath* and moving on…

I will admit there is one thing I do like about fall. I’m not a complete fall Scrooge. No, it isn’t the pumpkin spice everything. I like scarves. Scarves to me are like little portable blankets you can wear all day and still look fabulous. That is what I call a win-win.

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I just cuddle up in my scarf and pretend the colder temperatures of fall don’t bother me.

For my birthday, which is September 21st and is TECHNICALLY still in the summer (that’s very important to me) my Aunt gave me a scarf from Marquet (the blue one I’m cozying up with above). I hadn’t heard of the company before, but on the label it mentioned something about being fair trade, which have kind of become trigger words for me to whip my laptop out and do some research.

Marquet Fair Trade Scarves

It turns out Marquet imports bracelets and scarves from artisans in Thailand and Vietnam. Their goal is to empower entrepreneurs in developing countries and help them reach a larger, global audience. They take the time to meet with all of their artisans to create a personal, long lasting relationship. You can learn more about their Fair Trade Federation business principles here. The scarves come in all the colors of the rainbow and are made of cotton and/or silk. I got the Binh Minh Shawl and it has definitely passed my cozy test.